Singer in Paris attack says sorry

Jesse Hughes.
Jesse Hughes.

Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal apologises for alleging Bataclan club's security guards were involved

NEW YORK• The frontman of the band whose concert was targeted in the Paris attacks apologised last Friday for alleging that the club's security guards were involved and said he was struggling with trauma.

"I humbly beg forgiveness from the people of France, the staff and security of the Bataclan, my fans, family, friends and anyone else hurt or offended by the absurd accusations I made," said Jesse Hughes, singer and guitarist of Eagles of Death Metal.

"My suggestions that anyone affiliated with the Bataclan played a role in the events of Nov 13 are unfounded and baseless - and I take full responsibility for them," he said in a statement.

In an interview with the Fox Business channel, he had cast suspicion on the guards of the Bataclan club, suggesting some had been involved in the attack claimed by the Islamic State group. He cited as evidence the lack of eye contact of a guard in charge of the backstage area and what he said was the absence of around six security personnel on the night of the attack.

Ninety people were killed when assailants opened fire and hurled grenades during the set of the California garage rockers in the deadliest of a series of coordinated attacks around Paris.

The Bataclan, a historic venue for mid-sized acts in Paris, strongly denied the rocker's suggestion, saying its staff likely saved hundreds of lives and concluding that his judgment had been clouded by the trauma.

Hughes offered a similar rationale in his apology, saying: "I've been dealing with non-stop nightmares and struggling through therapy to make sense of this tragedy and insanity. I haven't been myself since Nov 13."

He also said his earlier statements did not reflect the views of others in the band, declaring: "The shame is 100 per cent mine."

A total of 130 people were killed in the series of attacks, with 350 more injured, many of them grievously.

Hughes had not definitively alleged an inside job, saying he was offering his own assessment as the police complete their investigation.

In a previous interview, he had also cast suspicion on security at the club, saying the band's soundman spotted two people already in the club before the show whose attire and behaviour were atypical of rock fans.

He also said the assailants allowed several people to leave, which he offered as evidence that they were familiar with the club's audience.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2016, with the headline 'Singer in Paris attack says sorry'. Print Edition | Subscribe